Monday, April 1, 2013

An Early Adventure

Ahhh ... home sweet home (away from home)
When most people think of an adventure, they think of things like skin diving, snorkelling in clear blue waters, swimming with porpoises  climbing a mountain, back country camping, skydiving.  Any number of things.  Some more challenging both mentally and physically than others.

I have done some of those things during what I now term the first part of my recovery process.  The part before the "severely stressful situation" escalated to a point where it consumed all of my waking - and probably sleeping - hours.

During the first part of the recovery process, I started to feel "comfortable in my own skin".  I re-created relationships with those who were the most significant to me - my husband, my children, my sister, etc.  I learned to value people and to accept not only who I am but who they are.  I learned what my strengths and weaknesses were and to accept them.  Ditto with those closest to me.  I no longer demanded from them things which they could not do nor did I demand from myself things which were not in my mental, psychological, or intellectual make up to do.

I began to talk to Papa Bear and get to know him.  Really know him.  To learn what was important to him.

As a result, I went on four canoe camping adventures starting at the ripe "young" age of 58 - each different from the other.  I started out not wanting to go at all.  I was a city girl - born and bred.  Although I did enjoy car camping or what I called "civilized" camping, packing everything I would need for several days with only a flimsy canoe for transportation over deep water into bear country.  No way!  And then I came to realize that this was important to Papa Bear.  This was something he really wanted to do.  And he wanted to do it with me.  He wanted to share his adventures and love for this kind of camping with me - his wife of something like 27 years.  So I decided to honour him.

He also decided to honour me.  He listened to what I had to say and we compromised.  We would have an outfitter completely outfit us:  tent, food, utensils, sleeping mats, sleeping bags canoe, paddles, PDF's (personal floatation devices), even the bailing bucket.  In short, everything we would need, except our clothes.

The sentinel - and which way did you say you were going?
Even though I was afraid of many things:  water, specifically traversing deep water in a flimsy canoe which are prone to tipping over and dumping their contents, humans included, into the deep never to be seen again.  Add to that, bears, and the possibility of getting lost, stolen or strayed, I was not a (potentially) happy camper.

Some of the most incredible scenery I've ever seen
Nonetheless we made the arrangements and the day arrived.  The canoe was loaded and in the water.  I looked at this tiny canoe bobbing about in the choppy, deep water and seriously considered running away.  But then, I figured that probably wouldn't work and it would be best to go to my impending doom quietly.

The outfitter advised us to stay close to the shore because of the brisk wind stirring up the water - which calmed me down some as I figured that I could handle.  Until I realized Papa Bear had no intention of adding extra paddle strokes (and metres) to our journey.  Since I (newly demoted crew bear) was in the front of the canoe with the newly promoted Captain Bear in the back, I really didn't have much choice but to stay in and "enjoy" the ride.

It didn't take me long to realize that while we both had a map (the same one), there are no signs out on the lake telling us which way to go to get where we intended.  Also, I realized early on that there are no canoe-through Tim Hortons or McDonalds.  What you bring is what you eat - for as long as the trip lasts ... or the food holds out.  Hopefully, the former rather than the latter.

The master bushwhacker at work

The trip was purported to be "easy" - easy being relative in this case.  Three days, two nights, three portages.  What the literature didn't say is that is was at least six hours of paddling plus one portage that although not very long was almost straight up.  Later we learned that it was called the Devil's Staircase.

I hadn't done anything in the way of physical preparation.  No walking.  No bicycling   No exercising.  Nothing.  I began to breathe hard and give out on the Devils's Staircase.  My right wrist (carpal tunnel) began to throb.  My whole body began to ache.  All I wanted was a 4-star hotel, a good cup of coffee and a nice warm bed.

What I got was a campsite, a tent Papa Bear had to put up, a tylenol (thank God for Papa Bears who come prepared with first aid kits), a small rest while Papa Bear put up the tent and unloaded the canoe and then supper - which I made with a one-burner stove perched on a rough bench.
First attempt at cooking back country style

Our "hotel" came equipped with one rough-hewn bench, a firepit and a thunder box.  No shower, pool (unless you count the lake) or hot tub.
The master firemaker in action

It did come with an awesome bonding experience with God and with my ever-lovin', long-sufferin' spouse.  It came with challenges.  It came with those special moments you remember long after like the time we stood sheltered under a large evergreen watching the rain fall on the lake in front of us while we stayed dry.  It was like standing under a huge umbrella.  That experience alone was worth the trip.

As always, I had my trusty, dusty "other" companion, my camera, with me and took shot after shot of the beauty around me.
The buffet aka bear barrel - containing all our food

After we safely arrived back on tierra firma - or back to civilization (that term also being relative), we debriefed.  Papa Bear wanted to know what I had been afraid of.  What I liked best about the adventure.  And, most importantly, would I do it again.

Without hesitation, this born and bred city girl answered without hesitation a resounding "Yes".  Yes, I would do it again.

And so, we began to plan the next year's adventure.
An example of how another camper passed the time 

1 comment:

  1. sounds like you had a really good time. Nature can really rejuvenate you :).